In a speech given at The New York Times Dealbook Opportunities for Tomorrow Conference in New York at the end of 2014, SEC Chair Mary Jo White detailed an extensive plan to increase the agency’s scrutiny of asset managers. Her speech highlighted many of the important issues currently facing the SEC in regulating the asset management industry and its planned response to those issues.
Chair White began by noting the evolution of the asset management industry and the tools currently utilized to protect investors and their assets. In 1940, when the Investment Advisers Act was first passed, there were a total of $4 billion in assets under management at 51 firms, compared to the now over $63 trillion of assets under management at over 22,000 firms. Chair White also noted that almost half of all U.S. households own mutual funds. In addition to mutual funds, asset managers also increasingly recommend modern, sophisticated products like ETFs and derivatives. Registered funds have significantly increased the size and complexity of derivates used in asset management.
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